Pictured: 2024 CT Rookie Sawyer Lindblad (USA) has guaranteed her best result of the season with a Quarterfinal berth at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy. Credit: © WSL / Aaron Hughes

Day 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy, Stop No. 4 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT), has seen another massive day of action. Competition moved to Winkipop, where there were semi-clean three-to-four-foot waves on offer. The second straight day of competition saw the completion of the women’s Elimination Round and Round of 16 as well as five heats of the men’s Round of 32 with mixed results for some of surfing’s biggest stars.

World No. 1 Picklum and Reigning Event Winner Wright Eliminated on Day 2

World No.1 Molly Picklum (AUS) will have to wait another year for her chance to ring the iconic Bell after she was taken down by 2024 CT Rookie Sawyer Lindblad (USA) in the Round of 16 at Winkipop. Picklum was hoping to find some form after falling into the Elimination Round and only just sneaking into the Round of 16, but Lindblad had other ideas, posting the equal highest heat total of the day, a 15.67 (out of a possible 20). Lindblad looked sharp on her backhand and has guaranteed her best result at the elite level as she looks to move above the Mid-season Cut line with a Quarterfinals berth.

“It feels really good; I was really fired up after my loss in Portugal, it felt good to know that I can get scores in the 7’s and 8’s so I came into this event really excited,” Lindblad said. “This is only my third time surfing Winkipop, and it’s such a sick wave. It reminds me of Trestles at home. I’m honestly just really happy to make it out of the Round of 16. I’m not really thinking about the Cut. This is my first year on Tour, and I don’t really feel that much pressure, to be honest. I just want to keep surfing and getting high scores.”

Local Trials winner Ellie Harrison (AUS) continued her charge through the draw, overcoming reigning two-time Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Winner Tyler Wright (AUS). Wright and Harrison went back and forth in the back-end of the heat, with the lead changing a number of times. With Wright leading on the buzzer, Harrison made it to the beach and waited for her last score, which was enough to get the lead and leave the two-time World Champion with an equal 9th-place finish.

“When I saw the heat draw come out, I was like ‘oh no’ – I look up to Tyler so much, she’s the nicest person in the water, gives me compliments, she’s such a cool girl,” Harrison said. “I went into that heat with the mentality that I’ve got nothing to lose. I tried to keep my cool, so I was just waiting for the perfect opportunity to find where the sets were coming in and try to get a big score. Then I got another one, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be the score, but I was so glad I got through. It’s a dream come true surfing at Bells, walking out with all my family and friends cheering for me on, it’s something I’ve thought about every year, and now it’s real. It’s a little weird, I don’t know how to act.”

Injury replacement Morgan Cibilic (AUS) continued the theme of upsets today, putting on a strong performance to defeat World No. 4 Jack Robinson(AUS) in the tough Winkipop conditions. Cibilic will take on form surfer and fellow Novacastrian Ryan Callinan (AUS) in the Round of 16.

“It feels amazing, I’m just so stoked to be here and grateful for the opportunity to be able to compete in another CT, and it makes it so much sweeter to make a few heats and put a couple of waves together,” said Ciblic. “It’s been so good. Coming down to the home of Rip Curl and getting to surf the bowl pumping yesterday was kinda a dream of mine. Getting to surf against Jack man-on-man was pretty sick. I’m pretty good mates with him, so it was good to have a little battle and epic to come out on top.”

Caroline Marks and Samuel Pupo Steal the Show at Winkipop

Reigning World Champion Caroline Marks (USA) was the standout performer of the Round of 16, posting the equal highest two-wave total of the women’s event to overcome an in-form Sophie McCulloch (AUS). Marks’ backhand looked on point at Winkipop, smashing massive critical turns to earn a two-wave total of 15.67 (out of a possible 20). Marks will take on Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) in the Quarterfinals when the competition resumes.

“That was really fun. I love surfing Winkipop. It’s a different wave, and I rode a different board, so it was cool to change things up,” Marks said. “You are always aware of what’s going on around you and who is dropping out of the draw, but I’m really trying to focus on myself. There hasn’t been a female goofy-footer win this event for so long, and I’d love to break that streak – this has always been an event I’d love to win with so many of my heroes having won it. There is a long way to go before I get close to that though.”

Samuel Pupo (BRA) put on a dominant performance, posting the highest wave of the day with an 8.50 and the highest heat total of the Round with a 15.23, ahead of Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA). Before Bells, Pupo sat well below the Mid-season Cutline, but a good result here will be valuable for him as he tries to secure a place for the rest of the tour season.

“It means so much, still pretty early in the contest, really but this Round of 32 has been getting the best of me, a lot of close heats,” Pupo said. “This whole trip has been really tricky for me mentally and emotionally, having some rough nights of sleep. It’s hard to stay calm with all these bad results I’ve been getting; you wonder if maybe you’re doing something wrong. It’s hard to keep doing the same thing and believing it’s going to work at some point. I don’t want to leave it to Margaret’s, so I’m stoked to make this heat.”

World No. 2 and Reigning Bells event winner Ethan Ewing (AUS) narrowly dodged a major upset, taking a last-minute win over the in-form Rip Curl wildcard George Pittar (AUS). After much deliberation from the judges, Ewing was left to hear the final scores on the Winkipop shoreline, scoring a 6.43 to jump Pittar after the buzzer.

“I felt pretty good about that last wave; it felt better than my other wave, to be honest, but yeah, it was challenging conditions out there,” said Ewing. “George is such a good surfer, and I made some mistakes but I’m stoked to get through.” I did see there were a lot of upsets today, but I try to just focus on myself. Like I said, I’ve got a lot of things to work on, and I’m looking forward to improving.” Ewing said, keeping his dream alive of taking back-to-back Bells wins.

Matildas and Other Sports Stars Cheer on World’s Best Surfers at Bells

Bells Beach hasn’t just attracted the world’s best surfers over the opening two days of competition. Spotted on site have included Matildas players Chloe Logarzo and Elise Kellond Knight, coming to cheer on their good friend India Robinson (AUS), alongside surf fan and Ten-time World Champion cliff diver Rhiannan Iffland.

Two-time Olympic Medalist and nine-time XGames Medallist snowboarder Scotty James met with fellow RedBull team rider Jordy Smith (RSA) to talk Bells Beach with the past Event Winner.

AFL superstar Charlie Curnow from the Carlton Football Club was seen at the event site, supporting close friend Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) in his Opening Round Heat.

For highlights from today’s action at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Women’s Elimination Round Results:
HEAT 1: Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 13.17 DEF. Molly Picklum (AUS) 11.50, India Robinson (AUS) 4.67
HEAT 2: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 12.04 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 11.23, Alyssa Spencer (USA) 10.56

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Women’s Round of 16 Results:
HEAT 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 15.46 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.17
HEAT 2: Ellie Harrison (AUS) 13.73 DEF. Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.74
HEAT 3: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 15.67 DEF. Molly Picklum (AUS) 11.74
HEAT 4: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 12.74 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.73
HEAT 5: Caroline Marks (USA) 15.67 DEF. Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 12.10
HEAT 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 11.97 DEF. Luana Silva (BRA) 11.67
HEAT 7: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 13.10 DEF. Isabella Nichols (AUS) 12.93
HEAT 8: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 13.83 DEF. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 12.04

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Men’s Round of 32 Results:
HEAT 1: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 13.64 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 12.93
HEAT 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.50 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 7.13
HEAT 3: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 15.23 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 9.70
HEAT 4: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 10.66 DEF. Connor O’Leary (JPN) 9.34
HEAT 5: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 12.93 DEF. George Pittar (AUS) 12.73

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Men’s Round of 32 Remaining Matchups:
HEAT 6: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) vs. Liam O’Brien (AUS)
HEAT 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Cole Houshmand (USA)
HEAT 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS)
HEAT 9: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Tully Wylie (AUS)
HEAT 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Crosby Colapinto (USA)
HEAT 11: Barron Mamiya (HAW) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
HEAT 12: Jake Marshall (USA) vs. Frederico Morais (POR)
HEAT 13: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Kade Matson (USA)
HEAT 14: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Ian Gentil (HAW)
HEAT 15: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Rio Waida (INA)
HEAT 16: Jordy Smith (RSA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Presented by Bonsoy Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Ellie Harrison (AUS)
HEAT 2: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRC)
HEAT 3: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
HEAT 4: Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)